The Duzi Umgeni Conservation Trust’s (DUCT) mission is to champion the health of the uMngeni and uMsunduzi Rivers. Six DUCT Team members walked 311km down the uMngeni River from source to sea in May 2012. This walk, and others along the tributaries of the uMngeni since, aim to provide data to gain a complete picture of the health of the river and unite everyone in establishing a ‘Green Corridor’. Pre-Primary, Junior and Senior Primary and Secondary Schools in the uMngeni Catchment are invited to help spread the message of healthy rivers, healthy communities through participating in the ‘Mayday for Rivers’ Arts & Cultural campaign.

We are very excited to introduce you to this year’s Duzi uMngeni Conservation Trust’s (DUCT) & uMgungundlovu District Municipality’s Art & Environment Campaign.  This year we are excited to partner with uMgungundlovu District Municipality and are inviting learners to “Imagine uMgungundlovu 2030”

Rivers are the veins and backbones of our eco-system and support our communities – plants, animals and humans alike.  The uMngeni River is a critical water supply that supplies millions of people with water each day and powers the economy of Kwazulu-Natal.

Follow this years’ story with Mtini, the Cape Clawless Otter and Mo, the Malachite Kingfisher as they celebrate a new beginning and ask the children to “Imagine uMgungundlovu 2030!”   Introduce your learners to the special characters that teach them about healthy rivers and healthy communities. Explore the role of rivers & sustainability (economic, social and environmental) within the context of International Year of Water Cooperation.  Ask your learners to express their vision for a sustainable uMgungundlovu in 2030 through producing any art or cultural form including visual artwork, drama, song, dance, creative writing, poetry, 3D model or sculpture. Group work is permitted.  Run the campaign with the whole school, one grade or one class and choose ten entries to submit before the end of the third term.

Two exciting opportunities for displaying the artworks include the ‘Happy Earth’ Hall at the Sunday Tribune Garden & Leisure Show (27 – 29th September) and at the Liberty Midlands Mall during the re*think campaign (17th – 20th October) You can drop your entries at the DUCT Campsdrift office, Pietermaritzburg or arrange for collection.

Entry is open to all Pre-Primary, Junior and Senior Primary and Secondary Schools in uMgungundlovu.  You will find the full criteria hereafter together with registration forms and the concept story.  It is essential that you register your school before the 30th August by faxing the registration to 086 6722577.  Please read the criteria carefully and adhere to all instructions to ensure that artwork has entry forms and labels attached as requested.  All work must be  mounted ready for display as per criteria.

Song, dance and drama can be photographed or video-taped and presented on posters/CD and opportunities can be created for live performance during appropriate events during the course of the years DUCT/PMB Eco-Schools educational programme 2013/2014.

Every year we award certificates to all artists of all artwork submitted, together with lucky draw prizes!  This year we are excited that His Worship, The Mayor of uMgungundlovu will make a special selection of “2030 uMgungundlovu Visionary Artist” awards!

The DUCT Art & Cultural Campaign has been supported by the Liberty Midlands Mall over the past six years and we are delighted to formally team up with the Liberty Midlands Mall re*think campaign this year!  Schools can visit to find the criteria (artwork must be created from recycled materials)  Two qualifying re*think entries per school will be submitted from the DUCT Art & Cultural Campaign. (Schools that have already entered re*think excluded.) Please arrange delivery or collection of artwork by Friday 13 September

DUCT would like to thank the following sponsors for their valued support, Hulamin, Liberty Midlands Mall and uMngungundluvu District Municipality. The campaign is run in conjunction with WESSA Eco-Schools, Pietermaritzburg Node and PMMBT P.E.A.C.E. Project.

Pandora Long Education, Training & Development Practitioner –

DUCT & uMgungundlovu District Municipality Art & Environmental Campaign,  PMB Eco-Schools Node 072 6928124 Fax:086 6722577

                      Art & Environment Campaign Criteria 2013

Read through the criteria for the Arts & Cultural campaign carefully.  Ten entries only per school will be accepted.  You are encouraged to display the balance of your schools “Imagine uMgungundlovu 2030” artwork and host a presentation of poetry, drama, music at your school  to raise public awareness for river health.

2 Dimensional Visual Artworks

  • The visual artwork submitted must be created on A3 paper or card.      Re*think entries can exceed this size (two only)
  • Format can be landscape or portrait or of your choice.
  • Media and technique chosen is open to choice, re*think entries must comprise recycled materials.
  • Power Pritt or other suitable strong adhesive must be used for collage or multi-media work.
  • Please mount the selected work attractively on coloured sugar paper or other suitable mounting card ready for display.
  • NB! Please complete an entry form for each artwork and paste firmly on the back of the mounting and paste supplied labels on the front mount.
  • No your entries 1 – 10 and supply a separate list of entries with typewritten or printed names to enable the printing of the certificates.
  • Submit 10 works only by September 13th – Selected “Imagine Umgungundlovu 2030” Artworks to take part in the display at the ‘Happy Earth’ Hall, Sunday Tribune Garden & Leisure Show (27 – 29th September) and All Artwork at the Liberty Midlands Mall during the re*think campaign 14th – 20th October.
  • Labels are supplied herewith. Please complete labels in black for each artwork and attach firmly to the mounting in front of artwork (not obscuring the artwork).
  • Please pack in a cardboard portfolio or between two taped cardboard sheets clearly marked with the participating school and contact details.

Creative Writing/Poetry/Song Writing/Drama/Dance/Storytelling

  • These can be submitted on A4 , A3 or A2 size posters or CD.
  • Please ensure that they are attractively presented for display and where possible laminated.
  • Please complete an entry form for each artwork and paste firmly on      the back of the mounting. Adapt the labels or create your own.
  • Dance/ Drama / Storytelling or other performing arts need to be      submitted as an A3 or A2 poster about the production and including where      possible photographs and other visual material.  Please specify the duration of the work.  Include the names and grades of the      performers.
  • Submit 10 works only by 13 September to take part in the ‘Happy Earth Hall’ Sunday Tribune Garden and Leisure Show or at the art displays      (see visual artwork)

3 Dimensional Artwork/Sculpture/Craftwork

  • These must relate to the concept story and “Imagine uMgungundlovu 2030” theme.
  • Ensure that they are of a practical size to transport and display, well-constructed and well packed.
  • Submit a maximum of five 3 D artworks per school.
  • 3D artworks must be delivered to DUCT or directly to the exhibition, by arrangement.

Art & Environment Campaign

  • Schools must register with DUCT before Friday 30 August.
  • All artwork must be submitted by Friday 13th      September when the campaign closes.
  • Msunduzi Entries can be submitted to Carolyn Scott at the DUCT      office at 1 Edmond Place, Campsdrift.       Howick and outlying entries submission by arrangement.
  • Selection for ‘Happy Earth’ Hall exhibition will take place during      the week of 16th – 20th  September and the hall will be open at      the Sunday Tribune Garden & Leisure Show 27th – 29th      September.  Only selected “Imagine      uMgungundlovu 2030” artworks will form part of the exhibition.
  • The Campaign display takes place at the Liberty Midlands Mall      between the 14 – 20th October.
  • Schools are encouraged to mount their own displays of the balance      of artworks as part of their art exhibitions.

Art & Environment Selection Criteria

  • This campaign acknowledges the unique value of every artwork or      other artform submitted and the selection criteria is structured in this      context.  It is not a competition      but rather a collective expression of a desire for a sustainable      uMgungundlovu, and a celebration of international water-cooperation for      healthy rivers and healthy communities!
  • Artists should seek to produce an interpretation of their response      to the story concept A      new Beginning – Celebration at Picnic Rock with the theme “Imagine uMgungundlovu 2030”  Learners are encouraged to choose one or      more aspects of imagining a sustainable future for uMgungundlovu and      depicting it in an original way,       the story concept and invitation from the Mayor is a guide to help explore      the issues.  You can choose whether      to depict the character/story or not.       Remember to feature people (yourself, your family, your community      or workers/school children etc) as well as biodiversity in your      landscape/cityscape/farmland/rural area
  • Certificates will be made to all entries submitted all      participating schools.
  • DUCT reserves the right to scan selected artworks and use for      promotional/fundraising/educational purposes over time.
  • Should funding be forthcoming for a 2014 calendar, all artists      whose works are selected will be notified and receive a copy.

Read The adventures of Mtini, the Cape Clawless Otter and Mo, the Malachite Kingfisher as they teach the children in uMgungundlovu about healthy rivers, healthy communities below,  or  illustrated at:

26. mtini's high five

The animals were arriving for the early morning celebration.  Tufty the little grey duiker stepped daintily through the forest floor marking his trail with tiny spoor in the soft silty sand.  Milly Mongoose came streaking in at top speed, her stretched out tail spelling a large backwards C at the end.  She was always in such a hurry!  Milly sat up on her hind legs, nose in the air, looking all around, just to make sure that Leopard wasn’t stretched out on one of the nearby branches. It was just as well Milly didn’t look up. Leopard was stretched out right above her on a branch overhanging the river.

Nosey Nyala was standing in the shadows browsing on the bushes, her pretty white and russet stripes blending perfectly into the surrounding bushveld.  Just beyond her, melting into the dawn shadows on the hillside, were the rest of her herd.  A handsome ram with beautiful curving horns, stood a little bit further up the steep bushy hillside.  Coming down the little winding game trail were the impala, zebra, wildebeest and kudu.

The sun sparkled on the frosted trees as it climbed slowly out of the mist, and soon the little river glistened like a shiny ribbon, as the whole valley was bathed in sunshine. As the frost turned to dew drops, tiny little rainbows sparkled at the end of the tall curving grass seed heads, hanging on for as long as they could before falling softly to water the leafy ground.  All the animals were gathered at Picnic Rocks. They were waiting for Mtini to read an important announcement!  As the sun climbed higher, the whole valley shimmered with excitement.

Python slithered in last, inching his way over a patch of burnt grass and curled his lithe body into a crevice in a huge over hanging rock.  He couldn’t quite fit and spilled out all over the place.  Pithi, the little blue duiker edged a little bit further away and kept one eye very steadily on Pythons writhing coils.   All around, the bushveld sounds reverberated around the valley, as the frogs, crickets and birds all sang out to their friends and mates.

There was a shrill call of the Fish Eagle as Mr and Mrs Fisherman descended on Picnic Rocks.  Mr Fisherman caught a nice large fish before settling on a dead tree.

Suddenly there was a huge commotion! A loud grunting and scuffling sound announced the arrival of Bully Bushpig.  Bully Bushpig tripped over Milly Mongoose and his eyes grew large as he summersaulted over python and crashed into the blacked tree trunk.  A cloud of ash and birds rose into the air!  Mr and Mrs Fisherman rose gracefully into the sky with the other birds but Haha Hadidah was caught completely by surprise!  He landed clumsily on top of Bully Bushpig!  The rest of the Hadidah clan took to the air making  a terrible noise.

Mr Mtini climbed up as far as he could on the highest rock overlooking the river.  All the birds settled again in the tall dead tree. Mtini looked far into the distance for his friend Mo, the Malachite Kingfisher.  Mo lived in the neighbouring Msunduzi Valley where he went from school to school with Mtini, teaching children about healthy rivers and healthy communities.

Mtini was very patient, but the animals were getting restless and quite noisy, especially Bully Bushpig who had started digging up roots.  He couldn’t wait any longer, this was such an exciting day for them all.

“Friends” he said, “We are gathered here today to celebrate a new beginning!  We want to thank all the children and the grown-ups that are helping to make our uMngeni river catchment a healthy one!  On my long and tiring journey down the uMngeni River last year we visited schools and communities and had fun singing and dancing and sharing my ‘High Five’, as we taught everyone how to work together to make rivers and communities healthy again!  It was my granny’s special story about Inkanyaba, the river snake, that has saved the valley!

“Finding Inkanyamba at the source of the river, and having him agree to come on our journey down the river was Mo’s brilliant idea!  Inkanyamba reminded everyone that the river was sacred.  He said that we should respect the rivers and learn from them.  Rivers teach us that all things are connected!  After the walk we attended lots of meetings to talk about what we had seen and learnt!  Everyone has realised how important rivers really are and how everything we do in the catchment affects them. Now we are waiting for Mo to bring a very special announcement from his Honour, the Mayor, for us to take to the children!”

Just at that moment a tiny blue speck appeared in the sky and all the animals turned their heads to watch Mo as he hovered over picnic rocks clutching a large rolled up notice in his bright red beak!  Suddenly he pointed his beak downwards and started his fishing dive! Down, down, down he came at lightning speed. Oh dear!  Mo sped down through the air towards picnic rocks so fast that he couldn’t stop and plunged straight into the Mpushini River.  Luckily DUCT had been clearing all the alien invasive weeds along the river and it was full of water again!  Mo emerged from the river looking bedraggled and hopped up picnic rocks with the wet notice still clutched in his beak. Mo handed the notice to Mtini.


Dear children of uMgungundlovu,


How old will you be in 2030! Can you imagine a happy future for all the people that live here, the babies, children, moms and dads, grannies and grandpas.  Can you imagine the places where people work and live?  Are there nice homes and is there lots of work to do?  Can you imagine that everyone feels proud about the work that they do and the place where they stay.  They know that even the smallest task helps to create a happy society!   

Imagine that in 2030 everyone knows how important the plants and birds and animals are for a healthy environment?  People understand how the sun and rain, mountains, grasslands and rivers all work together to make a happy earth for us to live in? Imagine that there are lots of beautiful open spaces where the rain falls and soaks into the ground.  The wetlands are full of life and there is clean water to flow all year round in the rivers.  In your 2030 vision, how are people protecting the wetlands and keeping the rivers clean?

Can you imagine schools that are neat and tidy with trees for shade and nice playgrounds to play on.  What new things do the children learn each day?  What new things are you doing?  Do you feel excited about this future? 

Imagine that parents have time to laugh and play with their children in parks that are safe and that have space to play games and do sport.  What sports would you love to play there? 

Do you love going to the mountains or the sea?  What special places are there in uMgungundlovu that you love to visit?  Are others coming to visit there too?  What about the Valley of 1000 hills with the uMngeni river flowing through it?  Can you imagine what it will be like to visit such a beautiful place?

Think about the future in 2030!  Do you have healthy food to eat and clean water to drink? Who is growing the food and where?  What do the farms look like?  Are there big farms or little ones? Does your family or community help grow vegetables?  Are there food gardens and fruit trees growing at the schools?   Are there places where people can go to learn how to make the soil rich and grow and sell healthy food?  Imagine that people keep and share traditional seeds and that there are vegetables growing all over, even in the heart of the cities!  Can you imagine people harvesting and storing water for their homes so that the cities don’t take all the water out of the rivers.  People are finding ways of saving water and using it wisely.  Everyone is helping keep the rivers clean!

Imagine the cities like Pietermaritzburg and Howick, and towns and villages in uMgungundlovu.  How have they grown?  Are there more people living in the cities? Are cities taking up more and more land, or are there projects to rebuild parts of the city? What do they look like?   How are the towns and cities designed so that they can meet the needs of the people without harming the environment.  Are people using resources wisely, and earning money from entrepreneurial ideas? Are there special projects in uMgungundlovu that save water, that generate clean electricity and that help people live sustainably together?  Does everyone have power for their homes and where is this coming from?  Are people using the sun to help heat water and charge batteries to run lights? 

What is happening to people’s waste?  Have people got good ways to recycle and reuse their waste? What do these projects look like? People don’t throw litter anymore! What about our other waste, like sewage?  Are there new systems that help communities to take care of this without hurting the environment?  Is everyone working together to make sure the systems are working well?  What are some of the new ways we are doing this?

What about cars and taxis!  How does the traffic flow freely through the city and on the N3?  Can you imagine people riding bicycles?  How do they do this in the city without getting hurt?  Are there buses for peoples to use to get where we want to go?  Are there trains for us to take when we want to visit our Granny and Grandpa.  What about all the trucks on the highway!  Do you think that they could go by train to Guateng too?  What does the platform at the station look like where they get on?!  Can you imagine a train full of trucks on its way!

Are there lots of factories and what are they doing to keep the environment clean?

Are people working together to build a community that is safe and caring? Are the people that are looking after the towns and cities doing that well?  Is everyone helping them to keep it clean and beautiful?  Imagine Moms and Dad’s going to work without being scared of being highjacked or robbed.  How are we stopping crime?

Are Grannies and Grandpa’s being taken care of when they get old and sick? What about when your Mom is having a new baby or your little brother gets hurt.  Can you imagine nice friendly helpful places like clinics and hospitals that are nearby?  Where are your favourite shops and what do they sell?

What does uMgungundlovu look like to you in 2030?  Can you help imagine a place full of people that are being helpful and kind to one another, a place with healthy rivers and healthy communities? 

All you have to do is Imagine uMgungundlovu in 2030 and create an artwork, drama, song or dance or express your idea in any other art or cultural form such as a 3D model or sculpture, creative writing or poetry.  Get your teacher to help you explore your idea of how we can create a sustainable uMgungundlovu in 2030!

When you’ve sent all your artworks to me, we are going to have a big celebration, just like the animals at Picnic Rock!


Your Honourable Mayor.

Mtini stopped reading and looked at all the animals. Now it’s time for us to take this message out to the children,” he said.  The animals were very excited, this was another adventure!  Porcupine had found an old school exercise book that had been dumped along the river bank and he came forward with it stuck on his quills.  The notice that Mo had brought all the way from the Mayor was still wet and Monkey stamped out copies for everyone.  Soon all the animals were on their way to visit the schools in uMgungundlovu to tell them about the Honourable Mayors announcement, and to ask the children to help.

Mtini helps you to do this by giving you seven principles for a Happy Earth, it’s called his ‘High Five’

  1. Little finger stands for safety – safe for one another and for the environment
  2. Ring finger stands for commitment – don’t give up even when it is difficult
  3. Middle finger stands for love and respect – love one another and respect the environment
  4. Pointy finger stands for accountability – don’t blame others, see what you can do
  5. Thumb stands for encouragement – recognise and help one another make a difference
  6. Open palms stand for loving hearts and positive attitudes, giving and sharing
  7. Joining hands stands for interconnectedness – we must all work together to make a ‘Happy Earth



4 Responses to Schools

  1. Julia says:

    excellent blog-go Penny we feel your energy

  2. Pingback: Tree of Light | uMngeni River Walk

  3. Pi says:

    Thank you for the fantastic work and the great story Penny, I will make copies of the story for the many kids that live here on the banks of the Umgeni in a Durban suburb.

  4. Pingback: Creative Opportunities for Learners | uMngeni River Walk

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